STAPLES-Funding for three mental health initiatives in Region Five will be recommended at the Sourcewell Board of Directors meeting in July following the Nonprofit Innovation Funding Review Day, June 19.

Four projects came before a group of nonprofit organizations and community leaders, all vying for financial support from Sourcewell's Nonprofit Innovation Funding program. Three projects will move on for board review. Two were recommended for the full request amount and one for partial funding. This was the first Nonprofit Innovation Funding Review Day since the division was added to Sourcewell late last year.

Project champions shared their projects with a group of peers and Sourcewell representatives and answered questions regarding each respective project. A funding decision will be made when Sourcewell's board of directors review the recommendations on July 16.

Following a group vote, the two highest rated programs were selected to move on for full funding and a third for partial funding pending board approval:

Reducing Mental Health Stigma for Youth: Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Foundation and the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation-$100,000 to plan and implement a youth mental health stigma reduction program, as well as expand the focus of the existing Make It OK program to target parents. This project, involving participant organizations, will pilot in Crow Wing County; however, there is anticipated expansion throughout Region Five.

Emergency Housing and Sober Living in Morrison County: Oasis Central Minnesota Inc. and Catholic Health Initiatives St. Gabriel's Health-$75,000 to provide emergency housing and sober living in Morrison County, as well as case management services and care coordination for beneficiaries of emergency shelter and sober living. Furthermore, a task force will form to ensure community collaboration around issues surrounding mental health, addiction and housing insecurity, as well as to discuss, pilot and assess emergency housing and sober living in Morrison County.

Breaking Down Mental Health Barriers in Agriculture­-An Educational Approach to Suicide Awareness for Supporting Relationships in the Farming Community: Northern Pines Mental Health Center and CentraCare Hospitals and Clinics in Long Prairie-$75,000 ($100,000 requested) to create a program using strong relationships and educating partners in farming communities to recognize mental health crises, normalize the process of receiving help and refer individuals to professionals. The program targets the counties of Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Todd and Wadena, beginning with a pilot in Todd County.

Tammy Filippi, nonprofit membership specialist at Sourcewell, said she was pleased with the diversity of organizations represented at the Review Day.

"We chose unmet mental health needs as our funding focus," Filippi stated in a news release. "Our hope was that we would receive applications that were collaborative, innovative and action oriented-we were not disappointed."

To learn more about Sourcewell Innovation Funding, visit www.sourcewell-mn.gov.